There are four inviolable givens of the interview process and they are these. One: we interview you, not the other way around. Two: we know more about you, than you do about us. Three: we have a job to dispense to some lucky beneficiary and you don’t. Four: we make the final decision. End of.
These givens have operated more or less satisfactorily over the centuries in all manner of workplaces: from the sweat shop in Delhi to the high rise penthouse in Manhatten, everyone knows that the interviewer has the power, the influence and the grace to bestow favours left right and centre to whomsoever the fancy takes them.
Never mind the ninnies who wring their hands and whinge plaintiffly about transparency, accountability and ( dread phrase) ‘equal opportunities’: the fact is, the interview transaction takes no prisoners and is unparalleled in its ability to wreak pleasure and pain in the same afternoon.
Until recently, that is.
The uncomfortable fact for us traditionalists on the interview panel is that there is a new fandangled invention which threatens to un-give all our givens and wreak havoc. That invention is The Social Media.
Social media. The phrase sends shivers through the very fabric of every member of The Interview Panel. It causes grown men to blush, grown women to grow pale and the dogs out in the forecourt to howl for their lives.
And by Social Media I mean the abominations that are FussPot, Twiddle and LickedUp: not forgetting their miserable spin offs, TittleTattle, Ignoranus and God (the search engine previously known as Google).
What social media has led to is a diabolical inversion of the Interview givens. Now, after five minutes flicking through FussPot, candidates can find out about every panel member’s personal foibles and fallibilities. Ten minutes on LickedUp enables candidates to think they can talk on an equal footing with the great and the good of the Interview Panel. 3 days on Twiddle may well turn a candidate into mindless moron with as much capability of holding a conversation as a jelly fish, but it also means they can spout uncomfortable gossip about The Firm’s human rights legacy and other irritatingly irritating pieces of malicious gossip that are completely unfounded.
So, when a candidate leisurely lounges over the interview hot seat and enquires over my personal dental record and whether The Firm’s recent shenanigans in Botswana were addressed by a secret shareholders meeting in time for the recent flotation on the Chinese stock market, there is only one thing a reasonable panel member can do. Call in the dogs and take a five minute comfort break whilst they do their worst. No-one likes a clever clogs, especially a clever clogs without a job who’s versed in social media.